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Mad Max: Fury Road

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ sees the resurrection of a series last seen thirty years ago.  Time and tastes have changed although the stylised action and wondrous cinematography is still evident in the series’ fourth outing.  Minus Mel Gibson in the lead and a vague re-boot rather than continuation, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ re-introduces the character for a new generation  As before the thin story is a mere conduit for George Miller’s direction to go into over-drive with his character’s mad escapades still drawing awe.

 

Mourning the loss of his wife and child, Max (Tom Hardy) listlessly walks amidst a post-apocalyptic landscape.  Seeking to restore order in a savage world, his mission is aided by Furiosa (Charlize Theron) a rebel leader eager to return home.  Together they fight a hoard of mis-begotten miscreants determined to claim the land as their own. 

 

In spite of a somewhat mis-leading title, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ delivers as an all-out action extravaganza.  Miller clearly enjoys creating new ways in which his characters defy death with each stunt more awesome than the last.  Coupled with spectacular cinematography embracing the richness of the film’s surrounds, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ effectively stands out.  Lovingly displaying every explosive sequence in broad comic-book tones, Miller successfully maintains the series’ roots in sci-fi/action territory.

 

Whilst an engaging romp overall, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ falters in its use of characters.  Although clearly defined, too much focus is given to Theron’s role.  As Furiosa, her character almost over-shadows Max making the movie feel like a spin-off from the franchise rather than a true Mad Max film.  Hardy does his best to put his mark on a famous role, even if it often seems like an extended cameo in his own movie.  Everyone has fun performing the high velocity skirmishes ensuring ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is a consistently enjoyable experience.

 

It shouldn’t surprise anyone if ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ marks another run of sequels.  Hopefully it will build on the success mostly established with this instalment.  Next time further focus on the main protagonist should work wonders in re-storing an Australian cinematic icon.

 

Rating out of 10:  7

 

A Royal Night Out

Movies and TV shows have done their best to humanise the British royal family.  Often seen as a somewhat aloof and decadent slice of English nobility, recent works have deconstructed the myth.  Films such as ‘The Queen’ have stripped away the distant veneer to reveal people with the same foibles as their subjects.  Although a light drama, ‘A Royal Night Out’ sheds more light on a family continually keeping supermarket tabloids on shelves.

 

In 1945 after 6 years of a brutal and bloody conflict, World War 2 finally ends.  Celebrating V.E. day, the British populace erupts in a sea of jubilation.  Wanting to join the party are young Princesses Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and her sister Margaret (Bel Powley).  Despite the stern ways of their parents, Queen Elizabeth (Emily Watson) and King George (Rupert Everett), the girls eagerly join the public celebrations. What follows is a right royal night of thrills no one will forget.

 

‘A Royal Night Out’ is an interesting slice of factual fiction.  Consistently amusing, it explores how expected convention heavily weighed on the young Princesses’ minds.  Elizabeth in particular discovers the attitudes the general public has towards her family.  Unearthing a myriad of opinions, these help open further her initially narrow world-view.  Contrasting a life of privilege against those she meets, the many societal aspects she encounters changes her.

 

These emotional strands become a strong cipher upon which the movie hangs.  Mixing pathos with sparkling humour, Julian Jarrold’s direction successfully maintains both.  Whilst occasionally predictable and a little over the top, the comedy works in contrasting the seriousness of an uncertain post-war future.  The performers work well in conveying their character’s ideals with the cinematography expertly conjuring the many images of a country scarred by war.

 

Staunch royalists should find much to enjoy with ‘A Royal Night Out’.  Although not a totally serious film, it may change some opinions on a family usually dubbed ‘The Firm’.  With a new royal recently born it can be assured tabloid magazines and TV viewers will continue watching their lives for years to come.

 

Rating out of 10:  7